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is this a scenic train trip? Itinerary guidance

Looking to take the train from Domodossola Italy on the route that goes through Brig, Goppenstein, Spiez. Then from Spiez to Interlaken Ost. (I will aiming to take the train that avoids the second tunnel) Is this a scenic trip? How does it compare to the Bermina Train route? I had originally planned to take the Bermina route but it does not work as well with the flow of my trip.

edit- another option is for me to fly into Geneva, make my way to Interlaken Ost by travelling through to Montreux through Zweisimmen to Spiez. Is this train trip from Montreux to Spiez a scenic trip? That would satisfy the fact I am missing out on Bernina.

Thanks!

Posted by
16171 posts

I am sorry but the route you propose is nowhere near as scenic as the Bernina Express, which stays above ground for most of the route over the Alps.

The first leg, from Domodossola, spend most of the time in the Simpson tunnel, ending at Brig. Then from Brig to Spiez, even if you route through Goppenstein to avoid the long Lotschbery Basistunnel, you will still be in a tunnel under the mountains between Goppenstein and Kandersteg. You can see the tunnels on this Swiss railway map (they are the dotted lines):

https://cdn-doc.myswissalps.com/docs/default-source/rail-network-maps/swisstravelpass.pdf?sfvrsn=7788603a_52

What is your itinerary? I can understand how the Bernina Express might be out of the way (too far East) for one’s trip, but if you are traveling between Milan (or Lugano) and Luzern you could take the Gotthard Panorama Express:

https://cdn-doc.myswissalps.com/docs/default-source/rail-network-maps/swisstravelpass.pdf?sfvrsn=7788603a_52

You do not have to do the boat section; You can proceed from Fluelen to your next destination by train. There is still a tunnel on this route, but it is short (Airolo to Goschenen).

Posted by
105 posts

thank you for your reply! another option is for me to fly into Geneva, make my way to Interlaken Ost by travelling through to Montreux through Zweisimmen to Spiez. Is this train trip from Montreux to Spiez a scenic trip? That would satisfy the fact I am missing out on Bernina.

(for some background- I am starting this stretch of my trip in Naples and when going to Switzerland I want to spend time in the lauterbrunnen area and Lucern before flying home out of the Zurich Airport.)

Thanks.

Posted by
14939 posts

I have taken most of the routes you mention.

Bernina Express is by far the most scenic in Switzerland with the Glacier Express a close second. I have taken the train from Zermatt to Brig which is somewhat similar to the route from Domodossola and it's very nice.

I've done the trip from Geneva to Bern and it's scenic but the mountain routes are east of that line. You do skirt Lake Geneva but it wouldn't be my first choice for scenery. (at least compared to the other trains in Switzerland.)

If my choice was between those two, I'd take the Domodossola route instead of the one from Geneva.

Posted by
105 posts

Hi Frank. You mentioned taking the train from Geneva to bern. I had not looked at that route, I was looking at Geneva to montreux. Then montreux to spiez. I believe they call that section the golden pass. Have you taken that route? We’re they scenic?
(Sorry if you did answer this and I am just confused)

Posted by
6875 posts

Yes, the so-called."Golden Pass" is scenic. The scenery is more pastoral than high Alpine, but still very pretty. And you do get amazing views of Lake Geneva at first leaving Montreux.
Also, before that, Lausanne to Montreux is also very scenic among the lake and through the vineyards.
So I would say that this is a fairly good alternative (with very different scenery); it would indeed be very time consuming to go via the Bernina railway.

Posted by
32699 posts

When you take the train from Interlaken Ost to Luzern towards the end of your trip, the direct route is via Meiringen and Brünig Pass, and it is very scenic - lakes, mountains, mountain lakes, steep track - it is a narrow gauge cogwheel railway - and Sherlock Holmes interest. The standard hourly local trains have floor to ceiling windows in 2nd class!

For the trip you asked about, which is more valuable to you - time, money or scenery? With the scenery, mountains or bucolic beauty? That would help to answer the question.

What time of year?

(I've taken all these trains and many more)

Posted by
6325 posts

Just remember that "nowhere near as scenic as the Bernina Express" does not mean dull and boring.

Posted by
105 posts

Nigel- thank you for your response. that is good to know that the interlaken ost to lucern is scenic. Maybe that will give me the scenic train views I am looking for.

Posted by
105 posts

Full potential Itinerary. (September)
1. leave Sorrento to Naples. Naples to Milan. Milan to Domodossola- sleep there (full day of train travel) Friday (alternate could sleep in Brig or Visp instead of domo)
2. Domodossola to Brig. From here Spiez to Interlaken. Interlaken to Lauterbrunnen. plan to stay in Murren or Grindelwald. arrive in this area around lunchtime. Saturday
3. spend a few days in the lauterbrunnen area visiting the surrounding towns and sights. waterfalls, mountains etc. Saturday lunchtime to Wednesday lunchtime
4. Head from Lauterbrunnen area to Lucerne. Wednesday lunchtime to Thursday Night
5. Wake up in morning in luzern and head to Zurich Airport. Fly home on Friday Morning.

  • I could add going from Brig to Zermatt on the saturday, if that would be worth it for the scenic detour? Unless you all think there will be enough scenic views between Lauterbrunnen and Lucern on the Wednesday.
Posted by
8421 posts

" . . . Unless you all think there will be enough scenic views between Lauterbrunnen and Lucern on the Wednesday. . . "

travellinggirl, everyone has their own perspective, but for me, while scenic train rides are great, they're not as great as actually being in a place, with your feet on the ground.

Posted by
16171 posts

Just to clarify: When I used the phrase “nowhere near as scenic as the Bernina Express” I was only comparing the Bernina pass with one specific proposed route ( Domodossola to Spiez) that consists mostly of tunnels. This was not a comparison with all other Swiss train routes.

My rule for travel in Switzerland is “any day above ground is a good one”. In other words, I try to avoid long, dark, deep tunnels. ANY train route in Switzerland that avoids those long tunnels (all of which are shown on the map I linked) is quite scenic, whether it be lakes, pastoral, or alpine scenery out the window.

Posted by
6875 posts

I see in your itinerary that you can't make it to Switzerland in a day from Sorrento... Is there any way you can fly direct from Naples to Geneva or Zürich ? It will be much better than wasting a day and a night...

Posted by
105 posts

Hi Balso-
I have reworked it that I can leave Sorrento a bit earlier and make it to Brig for the night by 6:30pm instead of stopping in domodossola for the night. Next day wake up in brig and carry on to interlaken leaving at 9:48am from brig (could leave earlier if didnt wander brig but it looks slightly cute to wander) and arrive in Interlaken at 11:10am on Saturday.

and yes- the other option is flying from Naples to Geneva. its a very early flight at 7am from Naples. This would mean leaving Sorrento the night before, and sleeping in Naples, getting up quite early to catch the 7am flight. This is a option but I am also not sure if with covid I should worry that this flight has a larger chance of being cancelled? its the only flight that day and its on easy jet. This flight would get me to geneva at 8:45am. 10:30 train to Montreaux. then through golden pass to interlakken at 3:30 on the friday

Posted by
11294 posts

"everyone has their own perspective, but for me, while scenic train rides are great, they're not as great as actually being in a place, with your feet on the ground. "

This is my perspective as well. I know that many people get a lot of value out of scenic train rides, but I don't; I get much more value out of actually being in the scenery than seeing it from a train window.